Category Archives: Video Games

The Atlantic Book Review – War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

The Atlantic published my book review of War Play by Corey Mead:

Riffing off the expression “all but war is simulation,” Mead considers weapons that are highly mediated, like Reaper and Predator drones piloted by soldiers using monitors and computer controls. As war itself turns to simulation, when buttons replace triggers and blades, and when killing is removed several orders from civilians and even from soldier-executioners, who is morally responsible for wrongful death or even “successful” “targeted strikes”? Who, in this surreal and oddly precise version of Ender’s Game, is ultimately culpable? When war becomes even more unseen, when it slides ever-more toward computerized management and best-guess threat assessment, will we be more disposed to wage it?

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The Power Of Black Twitter

When Juror B37 of the George Zimmerman trial gestured toward a book deal chronicling her and her husband’s life during jury service, a vocal segment of Twitter users erupted in protest. (Their argument being the writer would essentially profit from grave injustice and loss of life.) The publisher, feeling the pressure, nixed the book deal. Shani O. Hilton of BuzzFeed writes about the powerful influence of what she calls “Black Twitter,” –the thousands of highly active black twitter users who like to talk about race and current events and, as this episode indicates, are at the cutting edge of Web culture.

Last night Black Twitter killed a George Zimmerman trial juror’s book deal. But that’s not a surprise: The hive has become a swarm. It’s diffuse, powerful, and all around you.

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Destiny Gameplay Trailer

The studio that created Halo finally unveiled gameplay footage of its new title, DESTINY.

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New Halo Trailer E3

At the E3 conference last week, Microsoft unveiled a new Halo title for its next generation console, the Xbox One.

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Bungie Unveils Its Destiny

The studio that brought Halo into this world has said farewell to Master Chief and the highly praised 10 year project and unveiled their newest endeavor: Destiny. Today Bungie released a CG teaser of their newest first person shooter. In a few weeks, at E3, actual gameplay footage will be shown of the “always-on” massively multiplayer adventure.

Destiny will be released in 2014 and will be available on 4 platforms: the next generation of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as as well as the older PS3 and Xbox 360.

The trailer was directed by Jon Favreau, of Iron Man 1 and 2, and is exceptional. It’s Halo, Star Wars, and GUNS…lots of GUNS.

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Xbox One Faces New Array of Rivals

“The new console, the Xbox One, will enter a market very different from the one its predecessor, the Xbox 360, entered nearly eight years ago, when there was no iPad, smartphones had keyboards and mobile gaming devices were primitive at best,” writes Nick Wingfield of the New York Times.

“Today, video games can be played almost anywhere, on any device, with the biggest possible audience of online friends and without the aid of a costly gaming console.”

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Paul Miller Is Back

After one year without using internet technologies, Paul Miller, writer for The Verge, has returned.

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Nintendo Confronts A Changed Video Game World

With the launch of the new Wii U console next week, Nintendo hopes to reassert itself in the gaming world.  Writing in the New York Times, Nick Wingfield pits the aged Mario and Link against the hordes of cheap, accessible mobile games. (In this analogy Angry Birds are goombas and skulltulas.)

After Nintendo “posted the first loss in its era as a video games company,” Wingfield outlines the business challenges facing Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

Games on mobile devices and Facebook are free or mere pennies.  The time investment for users is much lower for mobile games.  And the multi-screen dynamic that is increasingly more common in US households (TV + ipad + smart phone) squeezes consoles out of the equation.

(At one point Wingfield says that it can take “minutes” to boot up your Xbox and set up your Halo match as opposed to a few seconds to turn on your iphone’s field runners.  This is perhaps a very sad and oblique reference to our country’s pronounced ADHD.)

Citing industry analysts, Wingfield questions Nintendo’s decision to not develop games for android or iOS (imagine playing Mario on your iphone).

The piece is generally optimistic towards the Japanese brand, but it tries to frame the original Nintendo Wii as the company’s last great achievement.

While the onslaught of cheap, downloadable games is eating the console’s market share, Angry Birds will never replace Zelda (with games that are 99 cents, you get what you pay for).

The article helps explain key economic trends that are reshaping the industry.

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New HALO 4 Trailer Produced By David Fincher

WOW. Looks Like Master Chief’s in a pickle. It also looks like he’s had a troubled childhood.

16 days til Halo 4.

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New Halo 4 Video @ E3

(courtesy CNET)

Its finally here.  Opening the E3 convention in Los Angeles, Microsoft unveiled a juicy video of Master Chief in action.

I love how similar this footage looks to the trailers for the new movie Prometheus.  The two share the same sense of alien horror and similar style in spacecraft/alien hardware.

I also love how similar this game is to Halo 1.  It begins with a crashed UNSC ship.  The player and the Master Chief share a sense of wonder as they explore the new planet, coupled with an atmospheric sense of mystery.  Does anyone else appreciate how cutie the grunts are while simultaneously acknowledging that you have no problem slaughtering them?

Welcome back, Chief.  We missed you.

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